My name is Delphine, I was diagnosed with cancer, it was terrible. I was angry at the world and I was angry at me. Why did this happen to me. I kept fit, I didn’t smoke, why did I have to get it when I watch so many people drinking and smoking.
The nurses at the hospital were wonderful they would talk to me and I think some visitors or volunteers they would talk to me and when I had questions they would explain the doctors answers. It’s not like I’m dumb, but even asking the doctor to talk slower and explain things was like an imposition I started to get shame that I didn’t understand them and would right things down and aks the Aboriginal staff in the hospital and the nurses.
I needed help with my kids I was worried about them, my son was diagnosed with depression they said caused by my cancer. How could I face my son knowing that I had done this to him.
I was told to call canteen that they had counselling, so I called them they offered to take my kids on a camp, where they could talk to cousellors and take their mind off the problems at home. I agreed to this. But my kids didn’t want to go they said it would be shame being with kids who are dying and they are not.
My daughter went on a camp and came home worse than ever. She felt bad that there were kids there who were dying and she wasn’t. They had their scarves and beanies on and she has long black hair. She ended up cutting her hair on the camp. It did no good they should have a different camp for kids who have a family member with cancer. She felt lost and alone after the camp she didn’t make any friends and didn’t open up to the helpers or counsellors because she felt that their main focus was the kids with cancer.
I had a surgery to take the cancer out of my stomach and this meant that I was in need of help. I needed someone to come to my home to help me shower and dress until I got better. I had to pay for this service and I found it hard to pay for this and pay for some of my medications, they cost a lot of money. I had to quit my job and live on sickness benefits. I had to stop my kids playing sports, because we had no money. We couldn’t even afford school excursions.
All the money went on medication, and transport and assistance for me. We didn’t have enough sometimes for the shopping we lived on two minute noodles. My son needed medication and he needed to go to the hospital to see a counsellor it all meant more expense. I couldn’t drive anymore so it was all buses or trains and sometimes we had to use cabs.
I didn’t know what services to use, I just used what the hospital told me. I found out later that I could of got help from one of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait organisations in helping to clean the house, do the shopping and take me to appointments. I think in hindsight that all these organisations should talk together to help us.
I would have accepted money or food just to help and when people ask if I was on Close the Gap I said yes but that didn’t cover all the cost of my drugs. I was told I should have gone to an Aboriginal Medical Centre and sure I would have but we don’t have one near us, so what ever they had to offer me was out of my reach.
I am still sick but can dress myself and go to the toilet alone. I don’t have to have someone there with me. My house is a mess but I can’t clean it properly and my kids are no use. I can’t be hard on them because they are going through this with me.
If you are wondering what family I have well my family live away from Brisbane and my partner walked out when I was sick. He couldn’t handle it and we haven’t heard from him since.